POLAND/A Plan for International Projects
Last November, one of Poland’s biggest film studios, Alvernia Studios, and San Fu Maltha, the founder of leading Dutch production company Fu Works Productions, announced a plan to launch a financial incentive scheme to encourage international producers to bring their projects to Poland.
Through a services based investment, Alvernia Studios has a set vision for the future of filmed entertainment and cinema in Poland, and plans to invite independent producers to co-produce two to three projects a year, with budgets of up to €3 million, 50% of which Alvernia and Alvernia Maltha would obtain.
To be eligible for the scheme, projects must be in the English language and of a mainstream genre for international distribution. They must also be ready to go into pre-production and have a director and lead cast secured.
While European locations will be considered for the shoot, post-production must be held at Alvernia Studios.
Alvernia Studios – which in its first three years has worked in one capacity or another on over 50 feature films and over 200 commercials, video games and music projects – boasts a state-of-the-art set-up, no expenses spared.
With an incredible range of facilities and on-site technological expertise, it is one of Europe’s most unique studios. Combining the experience of Maltha, whose independent and internationally oriented production company has produced a number of Oscar-shortlisted features, documentaries and TV series, it will be a strong and proficient partnership.
International co-productions recently shot in Poland include: Summer Solstice, a Polish-German title directed by Michał Rogalski, with the participation of the Lower Silesian Film Fund. Set during the WWII in the Polish countryside, this love quadrangle involves a young Polish peasant, his neighbor (the daughter of a wealthy landholder), a young German gendarme and a Jewish girl from Warsaw.
And There was Love in the Ghetto, a Polish-German docu-fiction from the autobiography of Marek Edelman, the former commander of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising who witnessed the extermination of the Warsaw Ghetto. Directed by Jolanta Dylewska (In Darkness) and Andrzej Wajda (Walesa: Man of Hope, Katyn, Tatarak), the film, which received participation from the Mazovia Film Fund, wrapped shooting in November 2013.
Music documentary The Accidental Rock Star, directed by Leiv Igor Devold, about iconic Scandinavian rock band Kaizers Orchestra, told by band member Helge Risa, the “man with a gas mask.”
Ja, Olga Hepnarova directed by Tomas Weinreb and Petr Kazda, a $1.7 million Czech-Slovakian-Polish co-production based on a true story, the 1973 massacre of eight people by a deranged 22-year-old woman. It was filmed with the participation of Lower Silesian Film Fund.
ITALY/ Unusual Locations in South Tyrol
South Tyrol has more to offer film and television professionals than just mountains: castles, wine, apples and many hours of sunshine. In the last century, architecturally notable industrial buildings have been built here, many of which have been preserved.
Some of these gems were showcased during the South Tyrol film funding program’s second location tour, PLACES # 2. Last October, around 20 producers, directors, writers and production managers from Italy, Germany and Austria had an opportunity to visit unusual structures such as the Zufritt Reservoir Dam in Val Martello (Martelltal), the once luxurious Hotel Paradiso (Val Martello) and the hydroelectric plant in Tel (Töll).
There’s a lot going on for BLS in 2014 as well, including the INCONTRI co-production meeting and RACCONTI script lab. Exciting projects have also been announced, such as the international production Everest (working title), which is shooting in Val Senales (Schnalstal) at the beginning of the year. The next deadline for funding applications is 7 May 2014. For more news please see: www.facebook.com/blsfilmlocation
2014 for Apulia Film Commission
This year has begun with as splendidly as 2013 ended: from January 10, the Dog’s Life production company is shooting two episodes of the TV series Il commissario Rex VII in Apulia. Season five is directed by the Manetti bros, the Italian indie duo renowned for their genre films. The shoot will run until the end of the month and will take place in Bari, Monopoli and Fasano.
“The Apulia Film Commission is very proud to host Il commissario Rex and the Manetti Bros in the region. Since this is the first time, we are sure it will lead to more opportunities ahead,” say Apulian film commissioners. Besides this TV series, in the following weeks Apulia will also be hosting a Japanese commercial in Lecce, a feature film in Monopoli and a docu-fiction in Gallipoli.
LATVIA/ National film center opens to foreign productions
The Latvian co-financing is now open to foreign producers planning to make their films in Latvia. The main goal of the co-financing programme is to encourage foreign investment in Latvia so as to develop both the country’s financial and creative industries and promote Latvia internationally.
“Establishing the co-financing programme is a strong stimulus for foreign producers to come to Latvia, see our wonderful nature and architecture, work together with our filmmakers in a creative and professional environment, and to return for future projects. Producers from Japan, Korea, India, Russia and other countries are already making several of their films here. Latvia will be the first of the Baltic states to have a national co-financing programme and I am sure it will attract important foreign film projects,” says Ilze Gailīte Holmberg, director of the National Film Centre of Latvia.
Co-financing is given to projects that being made by Latvian film producers in the form of services or a co-production. Co-financing can be applied only if the Latvian producer is physically or legally registered in Latvia.
GERMANY/ MGF-funded film to open the 64th Berlinale
Wes Anderson’s international co-production The Grand Budapest Hotel will be the opening film of this year’s Berlinale (February 6 – 16). Set in the Golden Twenties, it tells the adventurous story of Gustave H, a concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa, a bellhop. A major part of the post-production was handled by Stuttgart-based companies Look Effects and LUXX Studios. Former head of the MFG Film Fund Gabriele Röthemeyer is very enthusiastic about the part- nership: “The work of the Animation Media Cluster of the Stuttgart region, which we initiated, bore wonderful fruits: the results, which came from the new office of the Hollywood-based company Look Effects, are overwhelming. We did not expect it to be such a great success!”
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a British-German co-production between Grand Budapest Limited (UK) and Neunzehnte Babelsberg Film GmbH (Germany). Numerous stars, including Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe, were involved in the production.
A GREATER REGION
Luxembourg, Saarland and the German-speaking Community of Belgium have been working closely together in the media sector for several years now.
The launching of the Greater Region Location Guide, financed by the INTERREG fund, was able to bolster partnerships as well as increase awareness of the Greater Region as a common culture region.
The cooperation partners met for a discussion about film funding in the Greater Region: Dr. Gerd Bauer (Saarland Film GmbH), Guy Daleiden (Film Fund Luxembourg) and André Sommerlatte (Ministry of the German-Speaking Community of Belgium) agreed to strengthen ties between their territories in order to make co-productions more attractive in the Greater Region.
“It has been proven that exceptional locations, shorter procedures and a good federal promotional tool are very valuable but won’t suffice to get film producers to shoot their films in the Greater Region,” says Bauer, a renowned networker in the Greater Region. “Currently, we are working to connect and to open up our respective film funding guidelines to make the Greater Region more interesting and profitable for film producers in Germany and the world.”
The Film Fund Luxembourg has determined in the guidelines to recognize the funding of several days of shooting in the Greater Region. Guy Daleiden, director of the Film Fund Luxembourg says, “We wanted to turn rhetoric about transnational cooperation into action. I am sure that the opening will lead to a stronger profit for the regions through co-productions. I would welcome it if the other regions would also handle it this way.”
Unique to the Greater Region is the “Tax Shelter System” from Belgium, which makes it an interesting site for film funding. André Sommerlatte of the Ministry of the German-Speaking Community Belgium is confident that “stronger networking will bring a higher transparency of the provided promoted instruments, debureaucratisation and a faster way of processing the transnational co-productions.”
BIG GAME SHOOT COMPLETED
The film shoot for Big Game has been completed.
The action-adventure film, which was financed with funds from the FFF special program for international co-productions, boasts a top-class cast of stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Jim Broadbent, Felicity Huffman and Mehmet Kurtulus all came to Bavaria, where the entire shoot took place.
After shooting near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, director Jalmari Helander’s team moved on to the Bavaria Film Studios, working on three different sets: parts of the Pentagon and Air Force One, the U.S. president’s airplane, were created – and then “professionally dismantled and submerged under water” says the German production partner Jens Meurer (Egoli Tossell Film).
In the film, the airplane of the U.S. president (played by Samuel L. Jackson) crashes in a forest after a terrorist attack. Only one person can save him: a 13-year-old boy named Oskari (Onni Tommila), who is spending the night in the woods to prove himself in a traditional ritual of masculinity. Together, they go through the most extreme 24 hours of their lives.
FFF Bayern supported the production of this film with 1 million euros from the special budget allocated for international co-productions, which is intended to bring further international co-productions to Bavaria. The Munich-based company ScanlineVFX is responsible for the special effects.
FRANCE/ Shooting in the pyrenees
In October 2011, the Atlantic Pyrenees Film Commission responded to a location search ad in Aquitaine (southwest France).
It was for the second feature film of Palme d’Or-winning co-writer of The Class, Robin Campillo. He was looking for his main location, a “Formula 1-style” hotel in Aquitaine, near a shopping center.
Christine Saint-Cricq, general delegate of the film commission, contacted the city of Idron (near Pau), which quickly agreed and offered interesting options for housing the crew. The film commission also assisted the production in its search for service providers, technicians, actors and extras from its files. Proposals led to much local hiring.